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Six pieces of pumpkin shaped pretzel rolls on a napkin in a wooden box.

Pumpkin Shaped Pretzel Rolls

Constanze Reichardt
These pretzel buns are shaped like pumpkins. They are made exactly like Bavarian pretzels: with lye instead of baking soda. This process will give them their special chewy texture and a shiny brown crust.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting Time 10 hrs
Total Time 10 hrs 45 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 6 buns


  • 250 g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 150 ml warm water (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 3 g fresh yeast See notes below for alternative version
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the lye solution

  • 1 litre cold water
  • 40 g food grade lye granules


  • Place flour in a bowl.
  • Add water and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients and knead the dough. Personally I like to knead it by hand right in the bowl and for 10 minutes until it has a smooth surface and is only slightly sticky. You can use a kitchen machine, too.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic (I use a thin plastic bag that I can reuse) and let rest in the fridge for about 8 hours.
  • Take the bowl out of the fridge and let the dough come back to room temperature for about 2 hours.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equally sized portions and roll into balls.
  • Loosely wrap a piece of yarn around the dough and make a knot at the bottom.
  • Wrap another piece of yarn around the dough in a 45 degree angle. Please refer to the pictures above for reference.
  • Repeat this process one or two times, to get a pumpkin shaped roll that has either 6 or 8 dents.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Let the dough rest uncovered (important, so it can form a skin) for about 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the lye: Pour 1 litre of cold water in a plastic bowl.
  • Add 40g of lye granules and carefully stir until dissolved. Please make sure to use gloves and also protect your eyes.
  • Soak the rolls in lye solution for a couple of seconds.
  • Place the rolls on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • For an extra glossy crust, brush or spray the rolls with water and let them bake for another two minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely. Remove strings and serve.


If you don't have fresh yeast around, you can make this dough with instant yeast. You should use 1/3 the amount, which is 1 gram. For a version that does not require refrigeration, use 20 g fresh yeast or 1 tsp instant yeast. Instead of letting the dough in the fridge over night, let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This should take about 60 to 90 minutes.
Keyword baking with lye, comfort food, traditional recipe, yeast baking